Newcastle Utd 3 West Brom 0
NEWCASTLE UTD 3 WEST BROM 0
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Moore, Bramble, Babayaro, Solano, Faye,Pattison (Clark 80), N'Zogbia, Ameobi, Chopra.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Elliott, Boumsong, Luque.
WEST BROM: Kuszczak, Albrechtsen, Curtis Davies, Clement,Robinson, Gera, Watson (Inamoto 45), Quashie, Greening,Campbell (Kanu 45), Kamara (Ellington 45).
Subs Not Used: Hoult, Carter.
Newcastle began life after Alan Shearer with an easy victory against a side that is obviously following the Mackems down the shoot to obscurity. The 35-year-old Magpies skipper confirmed his career had been brought to a premature conclusion by a knee injury, and Nobby Solano and Shola Ameobi took up the challenge to prove 'the show must go on'.
The Peruvian's 30th-minute strike set the ball rolling and Ameobi's penalty nine minutes later capped an impressive first-half display that Glenn Roeder can add to his ever impressive Newcastle United CV. This was Roeder's fifth successive league win as Ameobi sealed the victory in injury-time.
Fat Fred has struggled to get the man he wants for the job, as Martin O'Neill continues to beat around the bush, and for the first time the caretaker boss hinted he would love the job on a permanent basis. His odds have been dramatically reduced having seen his side take 28 points from a possible 39, two more than Graeme Souness managed from 69 before he was sacked in February!
Life goes on, and as one player hung up his boots another, 20-year-old midfielder Matty Pattison (who has already had to fight his way back from two serious knee injuries), put on his boots to mark his first senior start.
Despite Newcastle's make-shift side, they overwhelmed the visitors before the break. Michael Chopra, who scored his first top-flight goal for the club at Sunderland on Monday, created the first, cutting in from the left to fire in a low drive which defender Neil Clement could only block to Solano. The Peruvian, who had earlier rattled Tomasz Kuszczak's crossbar with a dipping shot, steered the rebound into the empty net to give his side a deserved lead.
Clement had enjoyed a slice of good fortune on 27 minutes when he was only booked for a cynical trip on Amady Faye as he raced in on goal, but his luck ran out as the half wore on. There were 39 minutes gone when he pushed Chopra as the pair challenged for a through-ball and, although the initial offence appeared to take place outside the box, referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot after glancing towards his assistant.
Solano has taken penalties before when Shearer has been missing, but Ameobi grabbed the ball and hammered it low to Kuszczak's right to make it 2-0.
The West Brom boss, who was the brunt of 'Robson out' chants from the away fans, opted for radical change at the break, withdrawing (among others) former Magpie Steve Watson. With Ellington and Kanu teaming up in attack, West Brom had a more positive shape and both Nigel Quashie and Inamoto fired in long-range efforts within the opening five minutes of the half.
A somewhat lethargic Newcastle were forced to endure an uncomfortable spell, and skipper Shay Given was relieved to see a 57th-minute Zoltan Gera header fly wide after he met Jonathan Greening's near-post corner.
Ameobi saw a 72nd-minute shot blocked by Curtis Davies, but Shearer's brief emergence from the dug-out three minutes later sparked a crowd of 52,272 into full voice.
Chopra was unable to direct Ameobi's 80th-minute cross towards goal, but the home fans were already celebrating and gave Pattison a warm ovation when he was replaced by Lee Clark seconds later.
But it was left to Ameobi to further his claims on the now vacant number nine shirt with a third in injury-time as an emotional day came to a satisfactory end.